President Donald Trump announced Friday a new public-private partnership that will aim to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year as part of “Operation Warp Speed.”
“It’s called Operation Warp Speed,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden.
“That means big and it means fast — a massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavor unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project,” the Republican president added, referring to the World War II-era research and development of the first nuclear weapons.
“Nobody has seen anything like we’re doing now within our country since the second world war. Incredible.”
The effort will be spearheaded by Moncef Slaoui, who was formerly in charge of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division, and Army Gen. Gustave Perna. The president called both men “two of the most highly-respected, skilled professionals in our country.”
“I have very recently seen early data from a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine and this data made me even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020,” Slaoui said.
“We will do the best we can to do that,” he added, according to Fox News.
Trump said that an “essential pillar” of his reopening strategy is the “development of treatments and vaccines as quickly as possible.”
“Very quickly,” he added.
“When I say quickly, we’re looking to get it by the end of the year if we can. Maybe before. We’re doing tremendously well.”
In remarks made on Thursday, Trump said that the distribution of the vaccine “will take place almost simultaneously because we’ve geared up the military,” seeming to refer to Perna’s position on the task force.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said health care professionals, the U.S. military and the public and private sectors are “fully engaged in the development of the vaccine at warp speed.”
“Really, the fastest and most broad-reaching project of its kind since the Manhattan Project,” she said, according to Fox News.
“The military will do what it needs to do to help deploy this vaccine once it is ready to be deployed.”
A senior administration official told CNN that scientists who are part of the vaccine project have identified 14 vaccines to develop in the hopes of having six to eight vaccines make it for testing.
Administration officials also hope to have three or four vaccines available, depending on how they do in the testing and clinical trials and their success rate.
Despite the speed at which companies are trying to develop vaccines, regulators, like the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, say they will still hold the products to a high safety bar.
“My motto is a woodworking one; Measure twice, cut once,” Director Peter Marks told The Washington Post.
“The only change to that motto is: Measure quickly twice, cut quickly once.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.